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Father John Misty “Chloë and the Next 20th Century” Album Review

Chloë and the Next 20th Century

Father John Misty

    • Genre: Singer/Songwriter
    • Release Date: 2022-04-08
    • Explicitness: notExplicit
    • Country: USA
    • Track Count: 11
  • ℗ 2022 Sub Pop Records

Here we have Father John Misty’s “Chloë and the Next 20th Century,” which appears as though its concept was birthed in the mind of an auteur who specializes in oneiric theory and mid-century film scores.

His latest album is another collection of story-song vignettes arrayed in loose opposition to the pointless absurdity of modern society; or it’s an elaborate study in the life of a sad sack helplessly ensnared in doomed romances with a whole series of women, starting with Chloë, an unfeeling socialite whose previous boyfriend met a mysterious end in the first of, by my count, six tragic deaths in 51 minutes; or it was a dream all along.

Chloë and the Next 20th Century, his fifth and latest release, is his most un-Misty-like record yet, boasts delicate, sprawling orchestral arrangements. The album takes many twists and turns around the movie set, pulling off the impossible feat of making sure its mellowness never grows tiresome.

Album Cover ArtworkFather John Misty “Chloë And The Next 20Th Century” Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, August 10, 2022

Josh Tillman, AKA Father John Misty, is seen donning a black suit worn over a white tee. But sharing the stage with him is a smaller figure of a woman in a broadway-Esque costume standing under the spotlight. Another thing that can be noticed is how Tillman is trying to move just like the little woman.

Considering the album title, we like to think that the little woman is the Chlöe character created by Tillman around which the album orbits. Chlöe may be an actual person. It’s also possible that she is but a figment of imagination.

Tracks and Features

The album opens with a curdled horn line and unabatedly tame big-band arrangement for the character study “Chloë,” and the listener thinks, Here comes the self-ironizing lounge lizard, sounding like the Beatles-doing-vaudeville. (Which, to be honest, we like very much.)

But the next track, “Goodbye, Mr. Blue,” veers into a sunny-sad Harry Nilsson-like tune over Laurel Canyon guitar, the lyrics ruminating the end of a relationship coinciding with the death of a cat. Lines like “One down, eight to go, but it’s no less true/ Doesn’t the last time come too soon?” are genuinely funny — and genuinely sad.

“Q4” is an upbeat baroque number, an indictment of “airport autofiction” and trading human tragedy — ours and others’ — for capital and critical acclaim. It’s hard not to hear how a lyric like “the ironic distance kept her sane” reverberates against Tillman’s own artistic positioning.

‘Olvidado (Otro Momento)’, a shimmying bossa nova track that sees him sing in Spanish, never settles entirely, expanding its woozy ambience into a thick beat made up of quietly vast percussive flourishes. It’s a perfect example of how nothing on this album ends up quite where you’d expect it – including the ever-evolving artist who made it.

Album closer “The Next 20th Century” is the only song that does not obviously reference a past musical era. Still, it carries the scope and gravitas of the best late-career Dylan (another self-styled crooner).

The meditation meanders through harsh industrial crescendos, a low-key bossa nova beat, and lyrical references to Nazis, Val Kilmer, and “jeembles” — personal slang Tillman’s used to describe his negative visceral reaction to the entertainment complex.

Tracklist / Songs

NO

TITLE

ARTIST

TIME

1 Chloë Father John Misty 3:28
2 Goodbye Mr. Blue Father John Misty 5:00
3 Kiss Me (I Loved You) Father John Misty 3:57
4 (Everything but) Her Love Father John Misty 4:16
5 Buddy’s Rendezvous Father John Misty 4:59
6 Q4 Father John Misty 4:57
7 Olvidado (Otro Momento) Father John Misty 4:48
8 Funny Girl Father John Misty 3:39
9 Only a Fool Father John Misty 4:02
10 We Could Be Strangers Father John Misty 4:31
11 The Next 20th Century Father John Misty 6:56

Album Theme

The album plays like a collection of short stories. It’s an album about brokenness and love, and it delivers these concepts via a transportive journey into the cavernous jazz of the 1930s and ’50s, and folk of the ’60s and ’70s.

Production Credits

Jonathan Wilson handled Chlöe and the Next 20th Century’s pristine production.

Stream

Listeners Reviews

Excited for this
By Erdrick Alt-Text
First two tracks released are great. Trust that this is gonna be a great album.


Why was my review removed,iTunes?
By Pharoah2011
Superb first song. Instant classic.


Oh Father in Heaven
By AndyNYCAZ
Oh my goodness. Gifted, genuine and prolific. He clearly loves what he does and it seems to come to him effortlessly. Praise be.

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